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Government to close NDI, expel foreign staff

Khuon Narim / Khmer Times No Comments Share:
John Cavanaugh (left). KT/Ven Rathavong

The government on Wednesday shut down US-funded non-governmental organisation the National Democratic Institute (NDI) and ordered its foreign staff to leave the country.

According to a statement from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, it had decided to close the operations of NDI as it said the organisation had operated without being registered with the government.

The ministry also said the government had to implement its laws and organisations should respect the sovereignty of Cambodia.

“After a thorough meeting, Cambodian authorities have moved to stop the activities of the National Democratic Institute (NDI) and expel the foreign employees at this institute from Cambodia within seven days,” said the statement.

The decision to shut down the office of the US-funded NDI, which has operated in Cambodia for more than 25 years, was made following information that the NDI had set a plan and strategy for the opposition Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP), the main rival to the ruling party of Prime Minister Hun Sen.

Leaked documents posted on the government-aligned Fresh News media website claimed to show that the International Republican Institute (IRI) and the National Endowment for Democracy (NED), which are also funded by the US, had planned to help the opposition party topple Mr Hun Sen’s government.

The documents allegedly show there was collusion with the NDI and opposition leaders Sam Rainsy and Kem Sokha to create what’s known as a colour revolution in Cambodia.

In a recent response to questions from Khmer Times, NDI Country Director John Cavanaugh said his organisation had provided training for the ruling Cambodian People’s Party, the opposition CNRP and other smaller political parties on a wide variety of political party strengthening topics.

“For more than 25 years, NDI has partnered with Cambodian political parties, candidates, civil society and ordinary citizens to promote transparent governance and inclusive political participation that serve the best interest of the Cambodian people,” he said.

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